On September 16th, 2021, Tom Brady announced via a “Tommy and Gronky” segment that he believes he can play until the age of 50. The episode entitled “Google It”, has amassed over 400 000 (as of September 26th, 2021) views on YouTube and features the two ex-Patriot players lounging next to a kiddie pool in the Tampa Bay heat – taking turns asking each other frequently google questions.
Brady has previously spoken about playing at 45, and his current contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers puts him through the 2022 season. With a birthday of August 3rd, 1977, he’s on track to play at the age of 45.
What Brady is doing, and continues to do, on the field is unprecedented. Kevin Patra, an Around the NFL Writer for NFL.com, sums it up: “No one has ever come close to doing what Brady is. Only four players have even attempted an NFL pass at age 44-plus (Vinny Testaverde, Warren Moon, Steve DeBerg, George Blanda). Blanda is often cited as the oldest quarterback ever when he retired at 48, but he was a full-time kicker, no longer a QB by that point in his career.”
Note the wording of Patra. “Attempted a pass.” Not TD, not a win, not a Superbowl. Tom Brady continues to break records, but at this point, they’re mostly his own.
Vinny Testaverde, the most recent of the group cited by Petra, was drafted in 1987 and retired in 2007. In 2006, one year before his retirement, Testaverde played backup with the New England Patriots behind – you guessed it – Tom Brady.
Head coach of the Patriots since 2000, Bill Belichick, has coached both Brady and Testaverde, and Belichick weighed in on the matter of Tom Brady playing until his new goal of 50. “I’m sure Tom would know better than anybody, so if anybody can do it, it’s him,” Belichick said in a radio interview with the Greg Hill Morning show a few days after the “Tommy and Gronky” segment aired.
Love him or hate him, Tom Brady’s level of play for his age is unprecedented. If his career ended tomorrow, he would still be one of the most illustrious quarterbacks the league has ever seen.
Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Arts and Community Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]